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Diamond Twig

Julia co-founded Diamond Twig press with Ellen Phethean in 1992 as they both passionately believed in encouraging new women writers.

Diamond Twig has added a page to its website titled ‘Inspired by Julia’ and will publish new poems every two weeks and some of them will feature in a reading at Live Theatre on the 5 June 2015.

A brief outline of the press

Diamond Twig www.diamondtwig.co.uk is a small press based in Newcastle upon Tyne, dedicated to publishing first collections of poetry and short stories by women living in the North of England. The press was founded by Julia Darling and Ellen Phethean in 1992.

Julia and Ellen worked together for years on many projects, initially with The Poetry Virgins‚ a poetry/performance group formed by Julia as a way of having some kind of social life as a mother with young children.

Diamond Twig was formed to publish the Poetry Virgins repertoire, with some favourites by other poets such as Wendy Cope, U.A.Fanthorpe and Elma Mitchell. They have three collections; Modern Goddess, Modern Riddles (Diamond Twig Press) and Sauce (Bloodaxe Books).

Julia and Ellen went on to publish women writers they saw around them who had interesting and different voices, and who they felt were ready to have a first collection of their work. Diamond Twig aimed to raise the profile and confidence of new women writers.

They published about two or three books a year at small print runs of 200 – 300, in an attractive, reasonably priced series ‘Branchlines’. The books featured a black and white photo of the author on the cover, and each writer submitted a short piece about how they came to writing, and their writing process, which was published as a foreword in each book.

Diamond Twig books are sold at readings, or by mail order through the website.

They are not currently seeking any new manuscripts.

Extract for Julia' poem 'Dances' which gave the press its name

  • mother, why do you dress me as an old woman?

    you rake my hair and put me in dangerous shoes
    stick diamond twigs to my breast
    and leave me at dances where I will look